November 6, 1864 (2)

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Telegram Sent on: November 6, 1864.
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Next telegram November 6, 1864


Executive Mansion

Washington, November 6, 1864

Major General Canby Washington

New Orleans, LA

Please forward, with all possible dispatch to the Naval-Officer commanding at Mobile Bay,

the following order.

A. Lincoln

"Executive Mansion

Washington, Nov. 6, 1864

Naval officer in command at Mobile Bay.

Do not, on any account, or on any showing of authority whatever, from whomsoever purporting to come, allow the blockade to be violation."

A. Lincoln

Historical analysis

This analysis makes use of a heuristic for historical thinking know as SCIM-C developed by David Hicks, Peter Doolittle and Tom Ewing. For more about this historical thinking heuristic please see

Summary of the telegram

Summary information [1]

Lincoln is sending a telegram to General Canby and is asking him to forward the orders attached below which state "Do not, on any account, or on any showing of authority whatever, from whomsoever purporting to come, allow the blockade to be violated." He is essentially telling Canby to not let anyone through the blockade no matter what their circumstances are or how much authority they have.

The Context for this telegram

Major General Canby was promoted to major general and was ordered to relieve Major General Nathaniel Banks in Louisiana. Canby took command of the Military Division of Western Mississippi and worked to rebuild Union forces in the area after the Red River campaign.[2]

The blockade that Lincoln is referring to dates back to April 19, 1861 when he issued a Proclamation of Blockade Against Southern Ports.[3] US Secretary of State William H. Seward was the one who recommended adopting the blockade after the Battle of Fort Sumter earlier that month. By July of 1861, all major southern ports were blockaded.[4] The blockade was established in an effort to prevent the export of cotton from the Confederate states. It also was designed to prevent the smuggling of war materials to the Confederacy. The blockade was somewhat porous and occasionally allowed the smuggling of cotton, weapons, and other materials from the Confederate states to areas in Mexico.[5] However, it was an overall success and helped the Union win the war.

Inferences about the telegram

Canby most likely forwarded the message to everyone in a leadership position involving the blockade. Something important was probably going on and the area near Mobile Bay was vital for the event. That is most likely why Lincoln wanted nobody to be let through the blockade.


  1. This is a footnote